Ethical Stem Cell Treatments Pioneer a New Era in Sports Medicine

By Barbara Lyons, executive director

JamesAndrewsWisconsin Right to Life All of you sports fans are familiar with sports injuries and players with seemingly career-ending injuries return after surgery or treatment to perform at a high level.  What, say you, does this have to be with being pro-life?  A lot, it seems.

The most famous sports surgeon, sought by those who want the very best treatment, is Dr. James Andrews.  Some of his patients include Drew Brees, Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford and, most recently, RG III, the phenomenal new quarterback of the Washington Redskins. 

Chris Jones reports in the December issue of “ESPN The Magazine” that Andrews has been “experimenting with a new strategy.”  “‘Stem cells,’ he says.”   According to Jones, “…he [Andrews] and his colleagues at clinics in Birmingham, Ala., and Gulf Breeze, Fla., have been performing stem cell injections on  professional athletes.  He won’t name names, but Andrews has mostly employed stem cells in the deteriorated knees of football players, and virtually all of them have reported significant decreases in pain and inflammation.  ‘It’s early, ‘ he [Andrews says], ‘but the results have been remarkable.’”

The article describes how Andrews mines adult stem cells from the “marrow in the patient’s pelvic bone and then injects them directly into the damaged joint.”   There is no ethical objection to use of these types of stem cells because, unlike embryonic stem cells, a human life isn’t ended while the cells are retrieved.  Andrews hopes that stem cell therapies will soon become routine.

Andrews displays an optimism that is infectious.  It is beautiful to see such a dedicated and famous man using his skills and knowledge to help alleviate the human condition, and use ethical means to do so.